How to maintain proper ventilation in a horse barn
Barns need good ventilation for horses to stay healthy since they continually collect moisture, manure, urine and dust throughout the year. Doors, windows and fans help circulate air, move fresh air in and old air outside.
In the winter however, when the barn is closed more, moisture builds up from bathing, manure causes more intense odor, more ammonia is released from bedding materials and there’s an increased risk of respiratory infection. In summer, ventilation provides a cooling breeze to remove excess heat from the inside of the barn.
Avoid trying to regulate the barn temperature during the summer and winter months. The barn temperature in the winter should be no more than 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the outdoor temperature, even if the outdoor temperature is freezing. Your horses’ body temperature can be controlled by maintaining adequate weight and blanketing. The barn temperature in the summer should only be a few degrees cooler than the outdoor temperature.
* A barn with 12 ‘ feet high ceilings or no ceilings with the interior open to the peak of the roof will easily maintain proper ventilation.
* Each stall should have at least a 1-square foot opening to the outdoors, preferably at the eave. Many barns use a slot running the entire length of the barn at the eave, to provide an equal distribution of fresh air down the length of the barn.
* To maintain air movement within the barn, use bars or wire fencing instead of wood for the top half of the stall wall, between the stall and the inside of the barn. Bars or wire fencing may also be used for the top half of walls between stalls. Or if your ceilings are high enough, the area can be left open.
* Ventilation can be increased or decreased by providing double Dutch doors or windows that open to the outdoors in each horse’s stall. The doors and windows can be left open in the summer and closed in the winter.
* Storing hay or bedding overhead will decrease ventilation. If there’s no where else to store hay or bedding, avoid storing it directly above horse stalls.